Everyone has their own bucket list of travel destinations -- usually with common top contenders like Machu Picchu, Iceland, and the Grand Canyon. But we believe hotels are deserving of a see-before-you-die checklist, too. With that in mind, we compiled nine bucket-list-worthy resorts in the Caribbean, from St. Lucia to St. Barts, and Jamaica to the Bahamas. Start ticking off those boxes, folks.
1. Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
All it takes is one glance to grasp why this all-inclusive in St. Lucia consistently lands on lists of the most romantic resorts in the Caribbean. The suites here, called “sanctuaries,” have an open fourth wall, always keeping the jaw-dropping Pitons and cerulean sea within an eyeshot, whether it’s from the canopied bed, whirlpool tub, or (in all but the entry-level category) the private infinity pool. And this peaceful ambience permeates the rest of the property, too -- largely thanks to the lack of TVs and children under the age of 16. Visitors can also expect to find an open-air restaurant serving organic fare. The one downside? There’s no beach, but guests have access to the sandy stretches, free water sports, and dive center at the nearby sister property, Anse Chastanet.
2. Geejam, Jamaica
This Port Antonio property is loved for it lacks: crowds. Perched on a hill in the middle of lush jungle foliage, Geejam is cut off from nosy onlookers – a major motivation for its celebrity following (John Legend and Rihanna, among others) as well as couples seeking solitude. As for amenities, the private villas feature private hot tubs plus 24-hour room service and in-room massages. Each room also comes with a cell phone, so room service, staff members, and even the hotel’s owner are just a call away. And though there’s no communal pool, visitors can work on their tan at the nearby Frechman’s Cove, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches
3. COMO Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos
The pampering Parrot Cay experience begins before guests even step foot on the private island resort. It all starts with a 30-minute boat ride that whisks visitors from Providenciales to the sprawling 1,000-acre property. Upon arriving, guests will be greeted with a stunning infinity-edge pool, miles of picture-perfect beaches, the world-renowned COMO Shambhala Spa, and 24-hour butlers (if you splurge for a two-bedroom (or larger) villa). Rooms are airy and have Balinese-inspired decor, while private villas up the ante with features like outdoor showers and private pools. It’s easy to feel like a celeb at Parrot Cay -- in fact, Donna Karan owns real estate here. Just remember, feeling like an A-lister comes at a steep price.
4. The Cove Eleuthera, Bahamas
Far from the throngs in Nassau, this 40-acre property on Eleuthera Island attracts guests pursuing privacy -- and that includes VIPs like Justin Bieber and Hayden Panettiere. Celeb appeal aside, the resort features a gorgeous infinity pool with sea views, a cliffside bar, two man-made pink-sand beaches, and free access to kayaks, snorkel gear, and paddleboards. Splurging on a villa will get you a private plunge pool and state-of the-art kitchens, though there is an on-site restaurant, and fortunately, the menu changes daily based on produce from the garden.
5. Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, Dominican Republic
Casa de Campo is a solid pick if you like your beach getaways to feel busy. How you while away the hours here is up to you: sunbathing on the immaculate white-sand beach, playing a round on one of the three world-renowned golf courses, luxuriating in the full-service spa, or indulging in a little friendly competition on the tennis courts. At 7,000 acres, the property is sprawling, but each of the rooms comes with a golf cart for guests to get from point A to point B. Plus, with so much space to roam around, people need not be packed tightly -- a disadvantage of many other D.R. resorts.
6. Eden Rock, St. Barts
You’ve likely seen this stunning St. Barts resort on Instagram -- and for good reason. The photogenic property juts out on a rocky promontory, rising over the turquoise water and creating #nofilter necessary views. Built in the 1950s, the property was a Hollywood hotspot (and even counted Greta Garbo as a frequent visitor). Since then, it has maintained its legendary status. The beach-facing restaurants, pristine beach, and lavish villas, beach houses, and suites are among the highlights. Note: Although Eden Rock is currently closed due to last year’s devastating hurricanes, we believe it still deserves a spot on this list. (The property is slated to re-open in December 2018.)
7. The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas
Fun fact: The Ocean Club made a cameo appearance in the James Bond film, “Casino Royale” -- a clue into the swanky oasis that it is. Back then, the property attracted members of royalty – notable guests include Zsa Zsa Gabor and William Randolph Hearst. Today, it spoils visitors for choice with an 18-hole golf course, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, a Balinese-style spa, three outdoor pools (including a beachfront infinity option), a romantic garden modeled after Versailles, a white-sand beach, and much more. Plus, the 105 beautiful rooms come with butler service -- just like Bond would have liked it. The cherry on top: Guests get access to the amenities at the Atlantis, while being cut off from the crowds whenever they wish .
8. Baoase Luxury Resort, Curacao
A tranquil beach. An infinity pool. Elegant rooms and villas. And an excellent fine-dining restaurant. Baoase Luxury Resort has all the elements of a typical Caribbean resort. But it takes the experience one step further with thoughtful details, like gift bags left on the beds, candles lit around the property, and hand-carved decorative pieces from Asia. Kids are welcome, but the posh ambience favors adults -- particularly couples, with extras like fancy moonlight picnics.
9. Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia
Having a tough time picking between dramatic mountain peaks and a beautiful beach? Luckily at Sugar Beach, you don’t have to choose sides. This luxury resort in St. Lucia is situated between the Pitons and on one of the island’s best white-sand beaches. Jade Mountain also showcases the Pitons, but it’s without a beach. Also unlike Jade Mountain, Sugar Beach not only allows children, but caters to them, with dedicated kids’ and teen clubs, a family-friendly pool, tennis courts, and free water sports. But adult-centric peace and relaxation are also easy to find. Rooms come with private plunge pools, butlers, and 24-hour room service, while villas and cottages elevate the experience with living rooms and huge bathrooms (some of which have outdoor showers and hot tubs). There’s also a tree-house spa when you’re looking to sneak in some quiet me time.
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